Recently I’ve been thinking about the power of the gospel. As I do, I’ve been critiquing my own heart, “Do I really believe this?”
Remember, apart from Christ, humanity is not afflicted with a case of the spiritual sniffles, but rather is spiritually dead, utterly unresponsive to the things of God. Ephesians reminds us of this vividly:
And you were dead in your trespasses and sins, in which you formerly walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, of the spirit that is now working in the sons of disobedience. Among them we too all formerly lived in the lusts of our flesh, indulging the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, even as the rest.
So what are you, the evangelist, the Christian, to do? Talk to people about Jesus. The power is neither in you nor the sinner, but in the gospel!
In Romans chapter 1 we read of Paul who is eager to preach (v.15) and not ashamed of (v.16) the gospel. Paul simply says that he is not ashamed because the gospel is the power of God for salvation. The gospel is the power of God. The gospel is wired with omnipotence! And when believers proclaim this message it comes bearing both divine authority (Matt. 28.19) and divine power (Rom. 1.16).
I love to remind my own heart as to what it is powerful to do: “for it is the power of God for salvation” The gospel brings salvation. The gospel is the exclusive means by which the universal problem of sin is remedied.
But notice the particularity of the salvation, it is not for everyone, but only for “those who believe” (Rom. 1.16). Hence the strong exhortation to evangelize; people must believe in order to be saved. The simple but complex message of Jesus brings salvation to sinners. In this message the sinner is humbled and God is exalted, and this is the way it should be.
If we really believe that the gospel is the power of God for salvation we probably would not mess with it. It is not wise to edit perfection; we have not been given proofreading writes by God to add or delete elements from his masterpiece of Christ exalting truth.
Christians are to simply be minimum wage table servers, taking the masterpiece from the award winning chef and bringing it to the tables. It would be just as absurd to edit the gospel as it would be for a waiter at a five star restaurant to sprinkle on some hot sauce, pull off some asparagus and dump some Splenda in the soup. We just need to faithfully deliver the goods with reverent zeal remembering it is not us that converts but God and his means is the powerful gospel of Jesus.
Be the faithful waiter–deliver the gospel!